Jeffrey Louis

  • bboy, Break Free, breakdancing, breaking, FitBreak, FitBreak Workout, inertia dance company, Jeffrey Louis, Joel Judo Rivera, Monster Energy, RAD Crew

Published April 27, 2020 on DanceTalks
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Andrea Cody:

Five, six, seven, eight. Hello, and welcome to Dance Talks. Today is April 19th, 2020, and my guest is Jeffrey Louis. He’s a breaker, performer, personal trainer, and choreographer. He’s a member of RAD Crew, Team Energy, Fly Dance Company, and the Houston Rockets Launch Crew. His company is FitBreak, which offers workouts and personal training sessions. Jeffrey, thank you for being a part of DanceTalks.

Jeffrey Louis:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Andrea Cody:

Take us back to the very beginning of when you first remember dancing, as a little one.

Jeffrey Louis:

Oh, as a little boy. I remember it. In fifth grade, I was in fifth grade. My brother, actually, first introduced me to breakdancing. He took some classes in middle school, and then he would come home, and he would just teach me. So that was my first introduction into breakdancing.

And then, when I was in middle school, sixth grade to be exact, I took that class. That just opened up my mind to breaking, and the possibility of me actually breaking.

Andrea Cody:

Wait, was that kind of cheating? You already knew all the moves. Your brother taught them to you.

Jeffrey Louis:

Kind of. Kind of.

Andrea Cody:

Just kidding.

Jeffrey Louis:

It was just for half a year, so I just got a little head start, so I was the best. It was pretty cool. That was my first introduction into dance, any dance really, but breakdance to be specific.

Andrea Cody:

Cool, and where did it go from sixth grade on?

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s funny because my sixth grade teacher, his name is Nasty Nate, by the way, dance name, dancer name. Nasty Nate, he taught me for half a year. It was a semester and then he just stopped coming to class. So, that happened. The next year, I was in seventh grade, I tried to get back into it. I didn’t really learn anything. He wasn’t there. In eighth grade, I stopped dancing. I stopped dancing, I was playing basketball.

Andrea Cody:

Okay. Took a break.

Jeffrey Louis:

When I got to high school, I went to Westside High School, they had this amazing dance program over there called Inertia. That pretty much started my whole career, just dancing and taking it a step further and actually learning. Other than that semester of professional teaching, Westside gave me that real experience, Dancing, performing, competing, all of that.

Andrea Cody:

Take us inside the hallowed halls of Westside and tell us what is going on in there. Where is it? What’s happening? Is it classes, a studio? Is it a program?

Jeffrey Louis:

Mm-hmm, yeah. The dance program over there, it’s unique. One of the first of its kind, really. It’s, Inertia, to be exact, is a coed dance company. It changed a lot from when I was in high school, just because Sharon Roberts, the lady that was running it and the creator of Inertia, she stepped away from it. It’s being run by someone else and it changed, they bring in somebody new. I guess the main style of Inertia used to be breaking, which was for the guys, breakdancing, and the girls would usually do either contemporary, modern, it varies, but the guys usually did breaking. It would be a coed mix up of something that’s just incredible. It was always a good thing to do. As a kid, being able to dance and traveling, competing, it was just another thing to do.

Andrea Cody:

Nice. Was that your favorite subject in school?

Jeffrey Louis:

My favorite subject was Inertia.

Andrea Cody:

Really? Cool. Good for you.

Jeffrey Louis:

I would look forward to dancing.

Andrea Cody:

Right. Cool. When did you graduate high school?

Jeffrey Louis:

2013.

Andrea Cody:

Okay.

Jeffrey Louis:

2013.

Andrea Cody:

What was your first real step after that?

Jeffrey Louis:

This is real. This is a real story. It’s a real story. All right. I graduated in 2013. Honestly, I didn’t expect to see myself dancing as a career. My family, I came from a poor family. We didn’t have much. My parents came here from Haiti expecting us to get a “real job” and just make money, be able to provide for the family, all this. That was pretty much my idea. I was just dancing in high school but, afterwards, I would get a job, a real job. That was that. I didn’t really have that support from my parents as far as dancing went, so that wasn’t an option for me. I would still do it on the side, though, until my career-

Andrea Cody:

What was that? What was the side?

Jeffrey Louis:

My career? Or are you talking about…

Andrea Cody:

This is what you were envisioning for your future, you would just have it as a hobby.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah, so it was more of a hobby. I’ll just do this because I knew how to dance. I would do some gigs, pay for school. I wanted to be a physical therapist at the time. I was in school, dancing on the side, and then, two, three years after I graduated high school, I got a call from Moy, B-boy Moy from Haviroko, and he asked about the possibility of me being a sponsored athlete for Monster Energy, and I was like, “What?” I’m just dancing for fun and I wasn’t that invested into dancing and just being presented with that opportunity was like, “I could actually make money. I could make money as a dancer, as a breakdancer.” That phone call right there was the start of my career which led on to FitBreak., the reason why FitBreak even exists really-

Andrea Cody:

Well, we’re going to get to FitBreak. Before we go on, how did you meet Moy?

Jeffrey Louis:

The first time I met Moy was at Westside, in Inertia. He was brought in as a special instructor, so he came and taught us. Even though I didn’t really know who he was at the time, because I wasn’t really looking at dance that way, I just liked the moves, I wasn’t really looking at the history, all this, so I was really in it for the moves. He came and taught us some moves and just how to approach dance. That was my first time seeing him. I didn’t really think much about him. I thought he’s just a normal guy that came and taught us and he was very humble, so he didn’t say,” Oh I did this, I did this”, he was just teaching us. Later on, when I got into the scene more, after I graduated, I knew him but I wasn’t really close to him. It’s not like I talked to him. He’d throw events, so I’d go to his events, dance, battle, compete. Yeah, that was pretty much how I got to know him, through the competition world. And then that opportunity just came out of nowhere-

Andrea Cody:

How long have you been on the team?

Jeffrey Louis:

This is my second official year with Monster Energy, but I did one year before as, not really an understudy, but a prospect. I did some of the competitions with them and we won, so they were like, “All right, I guess it works. I must be a good fit.” That’s kind of how the process went. He’d always tell me, “trust the process”. I did that for a year and then I became a part of the Monster Energy Breakers.

Andrea Cody:

What’s that job like?

Jeffrey Louis:

Being an athlete for Monster Energy, it’s dope. The best way that I could describe it is freedom. That’s really what it is. It’s not strict, it’s not strict at all. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. It’s not strict at all. Really, they just want you to do you. They’re sponsoring your lifestyle but, at the same time, they have expectations that they want you to hit as far as going to compete or go to events, brand yourself, brand the brand, Monster Energy. Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle brand and you doing you is what they’re sponsoring you for. It’s pretty chill, fun, very entrepreneurial.

Andrea Cody:

What’s the lifestyle? There’s breaking, that’s your thing, so what’s that?

Jeffrey Louis:

When Monster sponsors athletes, yeah they sponsor you on your sport, but at the same time, it’s a lifestyle brand, meaning they want you. Don’t change what you’re doing, keep doing what you’re doing. They see your social media. They like the way you present yourself. They like the way you carry yourself. They like the way you compete or you fit with the company, so don’t change. Basically, it’s a lifestyle brand. Yeah, just do you. Just do you. That’s the best way to say it.

Andrea Cody:

Cool. What’s the secret? How do you do you?

Jeffrey Louis:

See, it’s something we all just got to find out. We all just, you know…

Andrea Cody:

Our listeners can find you on social media. Can you tell us where we should go look for you?

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes, if you’re Facebook, Jeffrey Louis. If you’re on Instagram, jeffrorad, all together, jeffrorad, and we’ll get to FitBreak later, so I’ll give you the handle afterwards.

Andrea Cody:

Okay, great. I’ll put the link in the notes.

Jeffrey Louis:

Got you.

Andrea Cody:

For our listeners who haven’t seen you dance yet, who may be on the way to check you out right now, how do you describe your own personal dance style?

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s dynamic, energetic. I like to call it a vibe of explosions. What I mean by that is that you could watch me dance, you probably won’t even understand it, but you will feel it. I guarantee that you will feel it. It’s a vibe. I think a true dancer, when you see them dance, you can see what they’re feeling, so when I dance, it’s just a vibe of explosion. You’re going to feel it, you’re not going to understand it. You’re going to feel it and you’re going to be like, “For some reason, I’m feeling it. I don’t quite understand what happening, but…” It’s a feeling, it’s a vibe.

Andrea Cody:

Who inspired you in that way? Is there somebody in dance history that you know of that you feel like you’ve reincarnated or called to be?

Jeffrey Louis:

My inspirations came from friends and teachers. My biggest inspiration, Judo, B-Boy Judo and B-Boy Jesse Germ. Judo taught me more of the dance aspect of it. Just being a kid that was into sports and all that, I didn’t know how to move my hips, I was stiff. Judo just taught me how to just move and just dance. Even if I was just watching him, I’d just watch him for… I don’t even know how long, just to figure out how he’s moving like that. Jesse Germ would teach me more of the breaking aspect of dance. Just how to compete, how to come up with moves and how to correct my form, history. I learned something from both of them. Two different styles. For sure, two different styles. They just helped me develop and become who I am.

Andrea Cody:

Let’s see, Judo was at Westside with you as your teacher. He was Sharon Roberts’ assistant. What about Jesse, how’d you know him?

Jeffrey Louis:

Jesse. What year was I… I probably was a junior. I think I was a junior in high school. He came in for probably just a year, no more than a year. In that year, he put in some work on the guys, actually teaching us the foundation of fundamentals. That was the first time I actually met him. I didn’t know anything about him before, so it was pretty cool. It was pretty cool.

Andrea Cody:

Tell us about the history that they taught you.

Jeffrey Louis:

Like I said before, coming into hip hop, the culture, the dance, I’d seen it from a sport aspect. I wasn’t into the history and all that. I had to learn about it. Jesse, he would put up videos, all this. Let’s take it way back for the viewers. Hip Hop started in the 70s, early 80s. There are four elements to Hip Hop. DJ, which is the backbone of hip hop, DJ Kool Herc is also known as the father of Hip Hop. We’ll get into that later. That’s the first element, the DJ. We have the MC, the master of ceremonies or sometimes the rapper. Some people get it mistaken but they’re two different things but they can be the same. We have the graffiti artists which was actually there before Hip Hop. It was an urban thing and it was integrated into Hip Hop. And then we have the dancers, the b-boys and the b-girls.

Jeffrey Louis:

The thing that, DJ Kool Herc, what he would do was he would play music or scratch mix DJ tracks till they were at a point where he would loop part of the song which we call breaks. So he would literally loop the breaks and the dancers would go out there and dance to the breaks. That’s when he came up with the term b-boy and b-girl for break boy and break girl, so they would dance to the breaks of the songs. That’s pretty much the build up and the start of Hip Hop. That’s how it started in the 70s, early 80s.

Andrea Cody:

Nice. I did not know that. I didn’t know where it got its name, that’s great to know. Thanks. Cool. It started in Brooklyn, right?

Jeffrey Louis:

In the Bronx.

Andrea Cody:

Bronx, okay, Bronx. Got to get my boroughs right. Where did it go from there? How did it get out of the Bronx?

Jeffrey Louis:

Unity, really, unity. Once everybody united, it starts to spread. It started spreading, started getting more attention. There are some people that we could mention but that would kind of be a lot so-

Andrea Cody:

It was before MTV, right? That was kind of Soul Train era, so it wasn’t on the screen, it was just people moving around-

Jeffrey Louis:

It was before MTV. MTV was actually what made it go global. Hip Hop music wasn’t seen as prestigious or anything. It was just something that started in the Bronx and it was going to be kept over there or in New York. And then when MTV came about, pushed it out, it was great exposure for Hip Hop.

Andrea Cody:

Right.

Jeffrey Louis:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)- It’s pretty cool that came into play, how prominent MTV, just its position, in Hip Hop. MTV really did this.

Andrea Cody:

Right, yeah, and you look at Michael Jackson and Beyonce and Janet, I mean, MTV, whoa.

Jeffrey Louis:

Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Andrea Cody:

Well, I guess Beyonce is a little after MTV. More just getting into technology, the internet.

Jeffrey Louis:

The internet does wonders.

Andrea Cody:

How has the dance itself changed since the beginning? Have you watched the original videos, the first ones that were captured, how does it look?

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s weird. That’s in general though. Breaking, it’s always been breaking. But, Hip Hop, you could see a change in Hip Hop dance. Even the fact that there are new Hip Hop dances being made even now. There’s litefeet which was early 2000s and it’s going and it’s growing right now. It’s all umbrella’d under Hip Hop but it’s growing. Some people probably would say it’s not Hip Hop. Just like freestyle dancing. Like choreo, people will be like, “Oh, I’m doing Hip Hop choreo, so there are a lot of things that emerged from Hip Hop dancing. Breaking, the dance itself, it looks kind of the same. Now, it’s a lot more tricks and dynamics focused. There are a lot of people trying to bring it back to the foundation, which is a good thing. It’s different because, back then, a lot of people were doing dynamics and tricks, too. Dancing has always kind of been the same or still is the same. I just think, Hip Hop in general, a lot of styles of dancing emerged since Hip Hop started.

Andrea Cody:

Cool. Do you see any breaking on the Soul Train videos? What’s the difference?

Jeffrey Louis:

I’ve seen some moves. Breaking, or breakdancing, would pull moves from, let’s say, the Nicholas Brothers, they would do something and they would be like, “Oh, that’s cool. Let me go ahead and add that.” That’s kind of how it kind of emerged. Some moves you might see in gymnastics. There’s a move called the flare. In gymnastics, they do it, in gymnastics, we do it. It’s pulled but at the same time, there is its own element. It’s the core, the fundamentals of breaking, the footwork. There’s a lot to it but we do pull from different things.

Andrea Cody:

I’ve seen Jesse’s presentation on the composition of breaking and it was the top rock, power moves…

Jeffrey Louis:

Footwork and freeze.

Andrea Cody:

Perfect.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah, so power moves would be what you would probably see in gymnastics. If I was just a random person, I would be like, “Oh, you’re doing gymnastics.” That’s what I’d noticeably recognize. I would see footwork and the main ingredient. Top rock, you could find top rock, which is dancing up top, what breakers do before they go to the floor, you could find that pulled from different dance styles as well. Footwork is specifically breaking. No other dance style where you’re on the floor doing that for that long. Those are the core elements, those four.

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s pretty interesting though, where we pull from.

Andrea Cody:

If dance is an expression of a people, why is this our dance? Why is it emblematic of youth culture? What does it say about you guys? What are you trying to say?

Jeffrey Louis:

The way it came about, that was basically the kids. When it came about, that was the kid’s disco. It’s like, “Oh, well, that’s their dance, this is our dance. We can’t afford to do this or go out, we don’t have all this stuff”, that’s kind of the idea. That’s how it came about. The reason that a lot of people could relate is because that’s kind of how they found Hip Hop or breaking, in the same way. My brother teaching me, we didn’t have anything. He just learned it at school. Let’s say we’re doing nothing, we’re bored, okay, he taught me some moves, now I get to do it. I get to practice, I get to perform, so it’s more like an outlet. It’s an outlet for sure. I just think that’s really what drove the dance and just blew it up.

Andrea Cody:

What inspires you today? When you find yourself getting up and dancing, why are you doing it in that moment?

Jeffrey Louis:

It just feels good. Dance, it’s a feeling but it’s an expression too. It’s just you expressing yourself. I just feel it. I just move the way the music moves me. I just let the music lead and I just follow. Not too much is involved in the way I dance solely because it’s pure and it just comes from the music. The music tells me go, I go. It’s just feelings, that’s what gets me moving.

Andrea Cody:

What music inspires you?

Jeffrey Louis:

That is a good one though, because I listen to a lot, but I could say old school Hip Hop. Old school Hip Hop would probably inspire me the most. It’s just that feeling, just puts me in the zone.

Andrea Cody:

Who are your favorite artists?

Jeffrey Louis:

My favorite artists.

Andrea Cody:

From that old school Hip Hop-

Jeffrey Louis:

No favorite artist that I actually listen to. It’s mainly just the beat and the feel. I just don’t have a favorite artist of that era. Now, yeah, but that’s on a different level. It’s interesting. I don’t have a favorite artist from that era, just the music, I feel the music.

Andrea Cody:

You recently launched a workout program with videos. I’ve done one, it was awesome, I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to do another one. These are really fresh, they’re coming out now. How’s it going? Who are your students? Who are these for?

Jeffrey Louis:

Initially, I made it for people who are like minded or on the same mindset as me. I was once told, “If you were to train somebody, you would train somebody that’s like you or how you were in the past or somebody you would like to be in the future.” Those are the best type of people you should train. I thought about it like that, I was like, “Okay, well, I’m trying to train because I’m an athlete and I’ve got to train my body, and eat right to compete, so how about I create a program that’s not just for me.” It’s for dancers looking to optimize their health in nutrition or exercising. I tried to focus on strength, endurance, control, speed, anything, it’s what dancers are looking for. My main audience would be dancers looking to boost their performance. But I still create programs for people just looking to lose weight.

Jeffrey Louis:

A lot of people, which I didn’t take into consideration, wanted to have a physique of a dancer even though they didn’t dance. They’re like, “Oh, dancers are fit. They’re doing full body exercises. All right, I want to look like a dancer.” That’s the one thing that I didn’t actually think about that actually impacted the program. People want to look like dancers, they want the physique of a dancer. I opened it up to where people wanted to either look like a dancer, just train to lose weight, whatever it is, but the focal at first was training dancers, looking to boost their performance.

Andrea Cody:

Cool. I wonder if the people who come to look like a dancer will start feeling like a dancer and then realize, well, we’re all dancers.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah, we’re all dancers. That’s kind of how it was too when I thought about it. I tried to do exercises- With FitBreak, I take moves and I modify them to where the general population or gym goers can do it too, so I modified it to where they can do it. And, at the end, they’re on the floor doing the exercises but at the same time, their dancing, they’re breakdancing. If you put it all together, that’s around that they’re doing. Some people, they like that feeling. They’re like, “Okay, I’m breakdancing.” It’s a good way to actually get you into breakdancing. You don’t even know it but you’re breakdancing.

Andrea Cody:

What are you hearing back from your students?

Jeffrey Louis:

The soreness the next day. That’s what I’m hearing. It seems like everybody is liking it. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback and ways to improve the program as well. I’m open to it because I dropped my first video and it’s all like, “How about you do this?” Next video, I implement it, they’re like, “I like that, I like that. Hey, if you want, you could do this”, so I’m always getting some feedback but positive. In that aspect and the fact that they’re feeling better. They’re getting results. If they’re looking to lose weight, they feel like they’re losing weight, they feel stronger. There’s just more body awareness. They feel more comfortable. That’s what most of my feedback’s been looking like. People trying it, people suffering, but ultimately, it’s good. It’s good and I enjoy it. I enjoy being able to help people out and being able to modify my programs to people.

Andrea Cody:

It’s a lot of fun. It’s so challenging. The time flies. Well, the 30 seconds you’re doing it flies by slower and slower as you complete the program but, even with the breaks, I’m catching my breath excited to jump back in and try it again. I love the chance to get to learn new moves and improve. You’re just repeating them over and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again so I can follow along and dance with you, and it’s fun. I really appreciate it. Keep it up, it’s really fun.

Jeffrey Louis:

Thank you. Thank you. That’s just what it is. Really, I’m trying to push everybody. You’re doing it over and over again gives you a chance to actually know the move and get the more down because I think form is the most important. I don’t want to jump into the next exercise without you getting the full grasp of that movement. I don’t want you to compromise your form, then you might start using a different part of your body to compensate for that. Repetition is key for that. Plus I don’t give you any breathing time. Just to help you to know this is how it feels whenever you got to push, you got to still keep form. That’s what it takes. I just try to throw that into the exercises in that workout.

Andrea Cody:

Awesome. Have you done Pilates before?

Jeffrey Louis:

No. I’ve seen it. Never done it. Actually want to do it just to try it out, but I’ve never done Pilates.

Andrea Cody:

It’s like exercising all about form. I like the floor work. It’s really just you working your body on the floor. You don’t feel like you’re getting cooler while you’re doing it. You might be getting stronger and you may be looking better but, they’ll have some music on in the back, but it might as well be spa music. I like what you’re doing because it also uplifts me.

Jeffrey Louis:

Thank you, thank you. No, for sure.

Andrea Cody:

I hope that I will be cooler in some way.

Jeffrey Louis:

You’ve done it once. You’re already one step closer.

Andrea Cody:

One step, right. It’s a long road.

Jeffrey Louis:

Uh-huh it a long road. You got it, you got it.

Andrea Cody:

But it’ll be fun.

Jeffrey Louis:

Got to bust it out. Just bust it out somewhere. Next event. Once this is over, the next event you go to, I want to see some breakdancing. That’s the ultimate goal. Your ultimate goal is to break dance.

Andrea Cody:

Yeah. Are you doing live sessions?

Jeffrey Louis:

I have been doing personal training over FaceTime.

Andrea Cody:

How does that work?

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s been going. Obviously, I prefer person to person, but it’s still possible. There are limitations but, overall, it’s working. They’re still getting their results and I’m still getting the positive feedbacks. I’m just learning. I’m just adapting to this new change. The disadvantage or, I would say, the part that I need to figure out is the music. I can’t figure this out but I want to be able to have them hear the music playing too so that they could either go to the beat while exercising, because the workouts are times, but at the same time, I want you to get inspired by the music. That part is kind of lacking because you’re watching a video and, at the same time, trying to hear the music that’s being played and hear me as well. There’s a lot to that.

Andrea Cody:

Have you tried radio?

Jeffrey Louis:

Say that again?

Andrea Cody:

Have you tried radio?

Jeffrey Louis:

No.

Andrea Cody:

I wonder if the radio is the same. It doesn’t seem like we have a lot of lag time like on FaceTime. It seems very live. I don’t feel like I’m on a webcam when I’m on FaceTime usually, it’ll freeze a little bit. I wonder if y’all turn on a radio station, 104 KRBE, wait for some good songs to come on and work with it. Call in and make a request.

Jeffrey Louis:

That’s one way to go about it. That’s one way.

Andrea Cody:

I wonder if KTRU at Rice or KTSU might do an old school Hip Hop hour for you.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah, that would be cool. The problem with that would be hearing me.

Andrea Cody:

Well, they’re on FaceTime with you and they’ve got their radio on. Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. Maybe they could put you on their headphones and blast their music, like you’re in their ear.

Jeffrey Louis:

Uh-huh, yeah. That’s the one thing I’m going to try to figure out. Get a radio-

Andrea Cody:

I grew up just dancing in my bedroom to the KTRU Ska show. Ska was the thing in 1993. I was 13. I had the time of my life and I started going out to all ages clubs with live bands. There was a lot of them.

Jeffrey Louis:

At 13?

Andrea Cody:

I went to my first Ska show at 13. But I grew up in a band and so I was already going to concerts every weekend from the time I was, I think, nine. Not every weekend but we went all the time, like every month or something. Over the summer, we might go every weekend. Do a kids for kids festival, children’s festival, wherever, just going out. Because we would be the warm up act that went on at noon and then my family would stay and go see the other bands and just dance.

Jeffrey Louis:

Oh. That’s cool.

Andrea Cody:

So, by high school, this station blasted this old dance music into my bedroom for one hour. I think it was one hour once a week and I would tape every show, so I would have the music. We’re talking from Reggae through British Ska through the New Wave and, when I went to go out to the bands, I knew maybe one of their theme songs or something. It was fun.

Jeffrey Louis:

Alright. It’s cool. It’s cool. Dance. So you really had to know what time they were playing the mix.

Andrea Cody:

Yeah. I think it was Thursday at 9:00 or something like that but, we didn’t have phones, we listened to the radio.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah.

Andrea Cody:

Yeah.

Jeffrey Louis:

Okay. Yeah. No, that’s cool, that’s cool.

Andrea Cody:

Airwaves. Yeah. I wonder if we need to tap into some new technology during this revolution that we’re in.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes, it’s needed. There are some changes. There’s some things I don’t think it’s going to be back to normal after this blows over. Some things aren’t going to be the same. That’s literally what I’m taking the time to try to figure out. Try to think of the next step. Because yeah, we need something. We don’t know how long this is going to last. I don’t know. I’m down to figure it out.

Andrea Cody:

I don’t know how long this has been lasting though. We’ve been in this isolating mood for a long time, staying glued to our phones. I’ve seen it from the time I was going out as a kid before we had phones, to just, it’s all about our social media and what we look like on our phone, and what we look like, kind of in a way, in front of a mirror. It’s like it went from, maybe more going out dancing, with the Ska and the Swing and Salsa, but then it just kind of vanished. That going out dancing kind of vanished.

Jeffrey Louis:

You know what’s crazy? As technology progresses, you’d expect our communication and in person skills to get better, but it actually goes down. It’s crazy. Because now we have the ability to reach people from all over the world but, for some reason, it is backwards. That’s a crazy thing yeah. All the dance clubs, all these social nights, it’s not that much of a thing now.

Andrea Cody:

You still see people dance at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Maybe a little dancing at a gala but not over the top. Not vibe explosions.

Jeffrey Louis:

No, yeah, that’s for sure. None of that. None of that. It’s interesting. It’s just crazy. What’s it going to be like in 10 more years?

Andrea Cody:

You tell us. I think it’s exciting to see what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it. You’re going to lead us and we’re going to follow and we’re going to figure this out.

Jeffrey Louis:

Sure.

Andrea Cody:

We are.

Jeffrey Louis:

I’m excited, I’m excited.

Andrea Cody:

It’s cool. It’s going to be fresh. It’s going to be something new. We love change and we always want to be doing the next thing.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes. That’s exactly how it is. So, yeah, I’m actually excited. It’s crazy or strange but I’m actually excited to look for the next thing or to be on the frontline of what’s coming, trying to predict what’s happening and how to go about it. It’s a crazy, scary but fun thing to do. Look forward to it.

Andrea Cody:

Yeah. If we were to live in lockdown forever, what would you do as a dancer? What would you do at home with your, are you with your brothers?

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes, I’m with my brothers right now. That’s literally what I’m trying to figure out. If we’re locked down forever, we’ll change up our whole plan, our future, because a lot of the stuff-

Andrea Cody:

Start growing food.

Jeffrey Louis:

We have to do something because a lot of the stuff, the things we do, are live. Let’s say we can’t perform at live events. A lot of artists, they tour. Most of their money comes from these tours and if promoters aren’t willing to book people because they know they can’t sell out the venue or if we’re just in lockdown forever, there’s no way that that artist is going to make their money.

Andrea Cody:

One of the things that you want to do is give people that feeling and express yourself. There’s a transfer.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes.

Andrea Cody:

It comes from the music and it wells up in you and it comes out and it spills out, and you want to give it to someone like a hug, you’re trying to give it to people. How are you giving it to them now?

Jeffrey Louis:

That comes with just the whole program. FitBreak, let’s talk FitBreak right now. That’s kind of where the whole music, you following my lead… Like I said before I don’t think anybody can feel what I’m feeling, so the closest thing I can do is lead them in a way, hit the music just like this and exert this type of energy so that they feel. It’s the closest thing that I can try to get them feeling what I feel. I try to lead them the best way I can. Yeah, it is difficult for people to experience it. After you introduce them to that, I try to have them just figure it out themselves so that they could find themselves and get that same feeling that I’m feeling but in their own way.

Andrea Cody:

Right. Are you reaching people outside of Houston?

Jeffrey Louis:

Yes.

Andrea Cody:

More so now?

Jeffrey Louis:

I’ve been getting a lot of messages. There are people doing the workouts all over. I got a video from somebody in the UK doing it. They sent it to me. Somebody from some place in South America, they made a video doing the whole workout and they sent it to me. I’m like, “That’s cool, that’s crazy.” It’s catching on and I’m just excited to see where it goes. I actually got some plans, I want to, I’ll save that for later, I can’t reveal it until I have it put down, but I have ideas of some things I want to do with FitBreak.

Andrea Cody:

It’s amazing that you’re still physically connecting to people through and internet cable that literally runs from your home across the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and into their house, and it’s these little light pulses of Jeffrey Louis reaching people and that’s a kind of dancing with someone else that we could have never dreamed of.

Jeffrey Louis:

I just think that a time like this is kind of what we need to just unite. It slows down the pace. Everybody is refreshing their life in a sense. Just focusing on what matters and how to focus on themselves and their families or whatever it may be. But it gives people the chance to slow down and just appreciate things. I just think that the internet, it’s used as a platform for us to feel these things and just transfer these energies. It’s crazy but I feel it now more than ever. It’s something that I think about a lot.

Andrea Cody:

The way you’re sharing is so awesome for the recipient in a way that I don’t think dance shows on TV ever did. I think there was a decade where we wanted to see the different cultures. We wanted everybody to have their moment to shine in the spotlight and we’d cheer for them and then we’d give them a 10 and we’d just say we love you, we love you, we love you. Now, we’re alone, and we still want to teach, and there are these people who are reaching out who want to learn. They’re finding, in their heart of hearts, a way.

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s always a good thing. I’m not even sure how to describe it, but everybody that has been reaching out, it’s been all positive and good. The energy and love, the support, them wanting to move more. People just really want to move. It’s just amazing. I don’t know if people get that from, like you say, watching it on TV, I don’t know if people get that but-

Andrea Cody:

Probably they get, maybe they get inspired to get off the couch and go take a dance class or join a team.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah. True. But as far as getting up and just, “I want to move.” Sometimes I could watch something and I could want to learn something or I could watch it and be like, “I want to move.” It’s two different feelings. It’s two different feelings.

Andrea Cody:

I have been going stir crazy, like at the Beyonce show, I only get the spot right in front of my chair. Like, I can’t do anything, and that’s my jam?! When I go to the theater, dance makes me want to dance, and to have to sit there can be brutal. My favorite place is Miller Outdoor Theater because if we can get in the front row, we can dance. Got to kind of keep it low but the kids can run around a bit and there’s a little wiggle room.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah, no, for sure, for sure. I understand completely. I understand completely.

Andrea Cody:

A part of the not physical distancing that we’ve been doing where 30,000 of us wanted to be together, in a way, it was confining, because you’re in a crowd. Now, you’re at home and you’re exploring your space.

Jeffrey Louis:

It’s a huge change. It’s a huge change. We’ve just got to find our way to just find that feeling again. I don’t know, it’s crazy but I think we can do it. Whatever it is, we’ve just got to find it. That’s our goal. Just find that feeling.

Andrea Cody:

What’s on your plate right now, what’s next for you?

Jeffrey Louis:

Next up. Everything is either FitBreak focused or competition for me. I plan on doing this competition, it’s an online competition. This online competition is the biggest live online battle. I still don’t completely know exactly how this is going to work but everybody submitted videos. You get into the bracket through video submission. They’re doing four regions. They’re picking, I want to say, 60, 60 competitors in each region. We have North America, we have Europe, we have Asia, and, I want to say, East Africa. We’ll have our own competition in the north and we’ll get to the regional final. Then in Asia they’ll have their competition, they’ll get to the finals. After that, you’re basically competing for your region, whatever it is. You have everybody on your back. It’s a cool concept because then you’ll go at it with other winners until there’s only one winner. It’s a pretty cool concept and, like I said, it’s global. It’s going to be tough but I’m interested in how this is going to turn out. I actually starts Tuesday. Break Free Worldwide Championships. I’m locked in.

Andrea Cody:

Where do we go to watch this unfold?

Jeffrey Louis:

You can go to the Break Free Worldwide website. I think it’s Break Free, it’s probably something along the lines of that, Breakfreeworlwide.com. You can put it in Google, you can find it. One of my other brothers, he lives in Austin. I’m actually driving to Austin so I could use his internet because I know he has some really good internet.

Andrea Cody:

Seriously?

Jeffrey Louis:

I don’t understand how this is going to work. I don’t have that great of internet. I tried to have a technician come in and fix it but, due to the whole pandemic, they’re not allowed to have a technician come, it’s something weird like that, so we have to deal with our WiFi being like this so I’m like, “Okay. I want to make sure I have a fair chance in this competition so I need some good wifi so I’m going to my brother’s place.” So I’ll be okay.

Andrea Cody:

It sounds like what would be nice is to have a clean room that we could go to that we could air out and clean that had awesome wifi. If that would be possible. If we could be allowed one spot where we just do everything to… we think we’re healthy, we do everything we can to keep it healthy and it has great wifi.

Jeffrey Louis:

The wifi, for sure.

Andrea Cody:

Where’s the Google hub in Houston? I know there’s one in New York, I don’t know if we have one here but there are cables all over the place.

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah. No, it’s needed. Something like that would be nice though.

Andrea Cody:

In this sense, this is like an underground movement

Jeffrey Louis:

Yeah. It’s big though. It’s pretty big. I’m just excited to get back, I guess, kind of get back to, this is the closest thing that we have to the scene right now, this competition.

Andrea Cody:

Right, right. Good progress.

Jeffrey Louis:

We had a few competitions that were canceled. I have at least three flights that I had to cancel because of this.

Andrea Cody:

Golly.

Jeffrey Louis:

All events have been canceled, so now it’s like, “Damn, what are we going to do?” A lot of people are wondering what they’re training for? There are no events coming, so that’s a lot of people’s mindset, so I just think this is good for a lot of people and I’m just ready to get back in.

Andrea Cody:

Who’s running Break Free?

Jeffrey Louis:

Moy. Yeah, I actually talk about him, he’s running that whole competition and he has Jeremy, Jeremy from Havikoro is his crew. They’ve been doing a good job with providing for the community. This is their next big project.

Andrea Cody:

Good luck.

Jeffrey Louis:

Thank you. I’m going to need it.

Andrea Cody:

Have fun.

Jeffrey Louis:

I’m going to be going against the world. Hopefully.

Andrea Cody:

Hey, what’s your motto?

Jeffrey Louis:

My motto. I actually took this from one of my crew mates. I don’t know if he made this up but I do like this and I go by this. He said… Let me get this word for word… I’m trying to word it to where it doesn’t sound bad but…

Andrea Cody:

The positive version?

Jeffrey Louis:

The positive version. Basically saying that if you live life easy right now, your life is going to be hard later. But if you work hard now, later, your life is going to be easy. I just think that is so true. I just think people actually got to really think about it and tell yourself, “Do I really want to be working this hard when I’m not able to work that hard or can I just handle it right now while I’m still able to?” You got to work. You got to work. That’s really what it is. Even during this down time, I’ve just been working. I’ve just been working. Yeah, I’ll rest later.

Andrea Cody:

My guest today is Jeffrey Louis. Jeffrey, thank you for being a part of Dance Talks.

Jeffrey Louis:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

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